Review: The Dead Key – D. M. Pullley

Paperback: 477 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (March 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477820876
ISBN-13: 978-1477820872
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Iris Latch – Low level worker for an Architecture firm.
Beatrice Baker – New work in secretarial pool at Cleveland Bank.


In November of 1978, Beatrice Baker began working at the First Bank of Cleveland. In December of 1978, First Bank of Cleveland closed under mysterious circumstances. In 1998, Iris Latch, entry level designer at a Cleveland architectural firm is assigned the task of mapping all the floors of the building. Iris soon finds herself on a mission to find why the bank was closed, and why there were so many deaths connected with the bank.


This was an interesting style of book. It’s along the lines of your classic thriller. However, with this it’s set in two different decades, and follows the point of view of two different women. You follow Beatrice in 1978, and Iris in 1998. This is both bad and good. It’s good, because as a reader I get to see bits and pieces of the story unfold over time. I see things Iris discovers, then I see from Beatrice’s view how those things go to where they were 20 years later for Iris to find. This connects the two narratives, but at the same time, it can be a bit confusing as a reader when they switch back and forth. I also found myself more drawn for whatever reason to the Iris character, than to Beatrice.

The characters themselves are well developed. The plot is beautifully connected. When you meet a character through the Beatrice part of the story, you might see the same character 20 years older from Iris’ side of the story. This helps create a continuous flow to the story, instead of leaving you with the feeling that you are reading two different stories.

For content, I’d rate it PG-13 for some acts of violence. But as a weekend thriller, it’s a good choice, and I recommend it. I think for all the thriller/mystery fans out there, that you’d find you like this.

About the Author

D. M. Pulley’s first novel, The Dead Key, was inspired by her work as a structural engineer in Cleveland, Ohio. During a survey of an abandoned building, she discovered a basement vault full of unclaimed safe deposit boxes. The mystery behind the vault haunted her for years, until she put down her calculator and started writing.

The Dead Key was the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award grand prize winner. Pulley continues to work as a private consultant and forensic engineer, investigating building failures and designing renovations. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on her second novel.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to TLC Book Tours at Lisa for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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One Response to “Review: The Dead Key – D. M. Pullley”

  1. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    I usually enjoy dual storylines so this book is right up my alley!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!